Winter Ale
Alaskan Brewing Co.

Winter AleWinter Ale
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English Old Ale
Ranked #139
Ranked #36,505
3.7 | pDev: 13.51%
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
Winter AleWinter Ale
Notes: English Olde Ale. Traditionally malty with the warming sensation of alcohol, Olde Ales are brewed in the fall as winter warmers.

Brewed in the style of an English Olde Ale, this ale balances the sweet heady aroma of spruce tips with the clean crisp finish of noble hops. Its malty richness is complemented by the warming sensation of alcohol.

Alaskan Winter is made from glacier-fed water, Sitka spruce tips and a generous blend of the finest quality European and Pacific Northwest hop varieties and specialty malts. Our water originates in the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Ice Field and from the more than 90 inches of rainfall we receive each year.

22 IBU
Reviews: 375 | Ratings: 879 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by barleywinefiend:
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice copper color but had no head to speak of really, just kind of flat. The smell was very sweet with spices and an overriding maltiness that was a bit overpowering. Flavor-wise, the beer was pretty thick and malty sweet with just a hint of the mentioned spruce tips and just a bit of hops at the very end to add a touch of bitterness. I guess I like my winter beers a bit more hoppy and not so sweet as this one. Recommended if you are a malthead.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
2.6/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one has a very light and clear orange body, which is not what I’d expect from a Winter Warmer. The head came up big but went down rather quickly.

Smell – The nose here has a light, malty sweetness that’s almost more like an Abbey Tripel. I don’t know where this one is coming from.

Taste – The malt flavors come out first and foremost at the taste. There’s a big, almost yeasty orange flavor in there. The floral hops provide a bit of a compliment, but mostly this one is sweet and malty.

Mouthfeel – Actually kind of smooth but way too thin for the style. I’d guess this one to be medium-bodied at best, and probably not that.

Drinkability – This went down OK, but it sure as hell wasn’t a Winter Warmer.

Comments – I hate to be the low-ball here, but I thought this was an inferior effort at the style. If you want to make a malty pale ale, just call it a malty pale ale.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 3/15/2015. Pours slightly hazy bright orange color with a small dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, biscuit, pear, apple, berries, spruce, herbal, grass, light pepper, light nuttiness, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, spruce, earthy hops, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, biscuit, pear, apple, berry, spruce, herbal, grass, light pepper, light nuttiness, and yeast earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, pear, apple, berry, spruce, herbal, grass, light pepper, light nuttiness, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and complexity of dark/bready malt, spruce, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/yeast/spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice old ale style. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, spruce, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of falloutsnow
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

From: Woodman's, Kenosha, WI
Date: Best by 2014-03-08 stamped on bottle
Glass: Standard US pint glass

Alaskan's Winter Ale is a surprisingly mild mix of pale malts, European hops, and light yeast character. The spruce tips are present, but fairly subdued along with the rest of the flavors. Not bad, but this is a fairly simple beer that could be brewed fairly easy at home. The malts are not particularly prominent or complex, along with the rest of the flavors and aromas. Not one I'd get again.

Pours a 0.5cm tall head of white foam, made up of medium-sized bubbles, creating a dish-soap like appearance. Retention is poor, the foam lasting less than thirty seconds in a decline to a thin ring around around the perimeter of the glass. Beer's body is a dark golden orange to copper color, with light bringing out a pale orange hue throughout the body. Carbonation is visible through the transparent body, moderate-high in number, similarly active.

Aroma is of light minerals and yeast with slight pale malt sweetness. In general, rather underwhelming.

Overall flavor is of light yeast, mild bread-like and pale caramel sweetness, low and clean hop bitterness with a slightly woodsy edge, and a bit of citrus from hops and/or spruce tips. Front of palate tastes light minerals, light pale and low lovibond caramel malt sweetness, and a touch of tartness and lemony flavor from hop and spruce tip usage. Mid-palate tastes pale base malt with a bit of light caramel-like sweetness, faintly woodsy hops, and a bit of tartness and dull fruity lemon from the inclusion of spruce tips. Aftertaste is lightly tart with hints of spruce-like lemon, a bit of pale and caramel malt sweetness, light lingering bitterness, and mild yeast.

Beer is medium-light to light in body, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a mouthfeel that is partly foamy (2/5) and otherwise smooth (3/5). This is an appropriate and fine feeling for this type of ale. Closes semi-dry, with light to moderate stickiness clinging to the lips and palate.

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Photo of likestoswallow
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from Vons. Winter 2007 release. Poured a rich copper color with an off white head that faded to 1/8 inch. Aroma was light with sweet malts, red fruits and almonds. The flavor was rich with malts and a large dosing of cherries and raspberries. Mouthfeel was very full, creamy and heavy. This is a beer you can almost chew. The finish fell short and showed just a trace of piney hops and some alcohol, but thankfully their was no lingering sweetness (which I had anticipated by this point). Overall: this is a most pleasantly original brew--my congrats to Alaskan. Recommended.

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Photo of stouts4me
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served in a pint glass, smell is muted but pleasant. nice orange-yellow clear beer.

pous out a nice winter-white 1-inch head.

real cold and you don't get the best this has to offer; let it warm and the spruce tips aroma comes out to greet you !

nothing special about the mouthfeel, normal. I liked the nos eand taste better when it warmed.

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Photo of Jared326
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a light golden copper color, crystal clear with some ample carbonation that kept a thin head going for a good while. Initial pour yielded a fluffy and creamy eggshell head that faded fairly quickly leaving behind minimal lacing.

smells of malts, sugar, maple, pine, honey, and some more sweet pine - almost like sap. Toasty and spicy.

taste is sweet. Sweet caramel and toffee malt character with some sweet and piny spruce sap notes. Definitely on the sweet side of things. It's a relatively neutral and even sprucing and spicing, without an intense and overpowering flavor (I seem to recall past years having a bit more spruce kick). This one almost borders a mellow overall taste.

mouthfeel is thick and almost a touch syrupy. Ample carbonation keeps the syrupiness at bay. Full and smooth, with an almost sugary-creamy feel. Not bad at all.

Not your regular winter warmer. This one definitely has some spruce kick. And it's sweet and malty - no question. Not "hints of sweetness and spruce" but in your face sweet malt and spruce. If you're in the mood for a sweet, malty, and piney brew, this is perfect. Definitely worth a shot in the exploration of winter brews.

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Photo of shelby415
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of ChaseBeer
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of Philousa
2.07/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a clear golden color, bubbly without much foam sticking around on top. Thick caramel syrup and amber malt aroma, a bit of some pine in there and a hint of too-sweet bread. Pale malt flavor starts things off then, out of nowhere, blueberries. The blueberry flavor is pretty prevalent and I might be mistaking it for the pine needle flavor they were trying for. I get some bitter piney flavor too. This is a thick, syrupy beer and is a bit undercarbonated.

I used to like this beer years ago when I was first getting into the craft beer scene. I remember the pine flavor being prevalent but not overpowering. But this most recent tasting was very different. The prevailing flavor was cough syrupish. I hope that this is due to a recipe change and they go back to the original, because if it's my taste buds that are to blame for this reversal in flavor then all hope is lost for this beer.

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Photo of kristenrae8
3.36/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is that brisk breath of fresh air when you run out to start your car at 6 am on monday morning.

Appearance: Amber-Honey colored. Head quickly disappates, no lacing.

Smell: Sprucy. Working at a christmas tree farm - sprucy. Hints of spices like nutmeg and cinamon - faint, hints.

Taste: Not as shocking as the smell, enjoyable. Wintery.

Mouthfeel: Medium to High carbonation, tingles like when snot freezes in your nose.

Overall: Good for a winter all, good for a sprucy introduction.

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Photo of ToddKehoe
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of twelveinches
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of Unchi
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of wisegreensoul
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of sprucetip
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Very clear, active, light copper/orange, very thin head falls promptly, spotty lacing.

SMELL Rich malty sweetness, booze, fruity esters, spruce tips and hops all blend well. Unique and complex. Surprisingly nice.

TASTE modest malty sweetness leads and is joined by sprucey notes, fruity boozy and floral hop flavors. A hint of hop bitterness balances.

FEEL fairly rich, slightly viscous, med body, clean, dry, sprucy finish.

OVERALL not a huge beer at all ,but not a session brew either (to me). Interesting and unique, but somehow misses the mark. A good and worthy but not a great beer. The use of spruce tips is common in Alaska, due to its historical use by Captain Cook in the 1770s. The spruce buds are high in vitamin C, and helped to ward off scurvy.

Since it is closest brewery to me that bottles beer, I want to like this and other Alaskan Brewing offerings more than I do, but I don't. With the exception of the barleywine and seasonal porters and some other limited releases, their beers tend to be pretty uninspired and average.

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Photo of Givekidsmeth
4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this after checking out the BA reviews, and they're pretty spot on. My girlfriend hates beer, and this one is something she actually loved. Excellent beer for someone who says they dislike beer because of bitterness.

Appearance - Poured into a tall beer glass. Light carbonation, two finger head, color of perfect caramel. This stuff just looks delicious.

Smell - Bread, light spice, dried fruits, malts. inviting and warm, the only reason I'm knocking a half point off for is that I'm not getting the spruce tips. But that's not to say it was in the least bit disappointing.

Taste - Again, the spruce tips don't come through, but everything else just shines more than enough to carry the weight. There's bread, light spice, that sweet, dried fruit flavor is up front and center. The tastes linger in a sweet, warm way across your tongue, and it just entices you into taking another sip.

Mouthfeel - creamy and delightful. Easy to drink, the carbonation is careful and spot perfect. Not dry, a very "wet" beer.

Overall, I'm not disappointed that the spruce tips didn't come through. The malty, bready, fruity aspects of this beer make it the best winter warmer I've found at my local grocer yet. It's not complex, but that just lends to its charm. It's honest, simple, affordable, and just mixes well with winter in a way few beers can.

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Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of OtisinAZ
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer had an aroma I couldn't quit make out. At first I thought it may be blueberries,but then realized it must be the spruce tips. The head didn't last too long, not sure if it was my glass or not. Really enjoyed the taste, very refreshing, with the right amount of alcohol to give it that winter warmer effect. Great night time session beer.

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Photo of ThirdEyePA
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of maniaczak
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Yeastcakes
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving notes - served cold, on draft, shaker glass.
A - spruce, nutmeg and cinnamon on the aroma.
A - light half-inch head that quickly dissipates to a this film. Slight lacing. Crystal clear with a hint of amber.
M - medium carb and body.
T - cinnamon and other spices from the aroma backed up by a nice malt body.
D - Great winter warmer beer. I would go back to this.

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Photo of ShwarzAl3r
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of aoampm
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 879 ratings